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So much is rapidly changing for each and every one of us as we are experiencing this pandemic in real-time. Everyone is advised to hunker down and isolate to protect ourselves when it is our nature to trust that our strengths are in being open, able to connect, and to help and support one another. This webpage is aimed at keeping us all connected. We will do our best to keep the information coming on this page and invite each member of this Friends of Ngong Road community to also become involved and engaged through any of our social media channels.
At NRCF here in Nairobi we are keeping safe and continue to support our families and students through the Food From Friends program and regular follow up calls by case managers. The 2020 school calendar year has been confirmed to be a lost academic year with schools expected to resume in 2021. This means our students will continue staying home for a longer period than anticipated.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked hard to understand the changing landscape in Kenya and work with our staff and schools to devise a suitable strategy.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the lives of our alumni have been affected. A number of them are currently not working as the virus continues impacting our economy. This is especially true in the tourism and hotel industries where many of our students work; although it cuts across many sectors. The virus impact has forced them to work remotely from their homes or go on unpaid leave while waiting for direction from their respective employers on the way forward.
The IT department in Nairobi has been crucial in supporting our students during the COVID-19 crisis. They have been printing assignments and communicating with students, as well as hosting students in staggered appointments in the computer lab so they can complete assignments, do research, and communicate with sponsors.
In the post-secondary department, we have a total of 124 students enrolled in different institutions. Out of this number 33 are waiting to join University or college for higher education learning. They will be interviewing with the Scholarship Committee this week where they are all required to present their post-secondary education plan.
Through the support of our sponsors, donors, and well-wishers we were able to issue food to 130 families this week. Due to joblessness and lack of casual day labor, the crime rate has increased in some areas as the situation has become increasingly worse. Some families have been threatened by their landlords and asked to vacate their houses if they can’t afford to pay rent.
Today we issued 73 packs to 73 families. Most parents/guardians of children in the program have lost their jobs, therefore it is a hard and trying time for these families given the nature of their existence is a hand-to-mouth life.
On top of not being able to feed themselves, these families are now faced with the challenge of rent payment with some landlords threatening to evict. Some have received notice to vacate by the end of the month.
In the course of a normal April, our program provides students with breakfast and lunch each weekday while they are on break from school as well as a hearty lunch on Saturdays during Saturday Program. We are no longer conducting these programs due to the government directives on social distancing and avoiding gatherings. The children are at home with their families, many of whom are no longer working. Hence, our main priority in our COVID-19 response is to focus on family food aid.
So much is rapidly changing. Practically every moment we are trying to understand this pandemic from our own perspective and experiences and from the perspectives and experiences of others. We are adjusting to this new reality, and we are doing so together as a global community, with the realization that many of our human responses are shared. We created “COVID-19 Updates” with the purpose of strengthening our connections.
Our program typically provides elementary-age students with breakfast and lunch each school day as well as a hearty lunch on Saturdays. As a result, when students are home these families experience extreme stress in just providing food for everyone.
In our world today, now challenged by COVID-19, we may be a world away but personal connections are still indispensable!